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‘Canterbury Cathedral silent disco was just the beginning – this madness must end!’

Angry Christians have pledged to continue fighting after their campaign against boozy parties in Canterbury Cathedral fell on deaf ears.

Those who prayed in protest outside ‘Rave in the Nave’ last week have declared “the madness must end” as their petition to halt future events reaches 2,000.

The crowd at the Canterbury Cathedral silent disco
The crowd at the Canterbury Cathedral silent disco

But the historic place of worship has defended itself, adding that they have an overwhelmingly positive response following their silent disco.

Some 3,000 partygoers descended on the cathedral between Thursday and Friday, much to the disdain of campaign leader Dr Cajetan Skowronski.

“The Canterbury Cathedral Disco has now taken place, despite our petition of over 1600 signatures and our prayer vigil outside the Cathedral,” he says.

“But this was only the beginning. More Great British cathedrals are being turned into nightclubs.

“The desecration will not stop unless we resist, with petitions and prayers, to make the clergy see their error and awaken the people to the importance of their sacred places.

Dr Cajetan Skowronski is opposed to a silent disco being held at Canterbury Cathedral
Dr Cajetan Skowronski is opposed to a silent disco being held at Canterbury Cathedral

“We oppose all desecration of our historic holy places, and especially their use as nightclubs.”

Addressing Anglican Deans directly, he wrote publicly: “Please stop the discos and make the cathedrals houses of prayer once more”.

Urging others to share the 1,923 signature petition, he asked people to opt in for email notifications detailing the whereabouts of future protest prayer vigils outside cathedrals elsewhere in the country.

“This madness has to stop, together we have the power to make our Cathedrals sacred again,” he adds.

A Canterbury Cathedral spokesperson has claimed that visitors – and even those who practice the faith – loved the event.

Protestors of the silent disco outside Canterbury Cathedral
Protestors of the silent disco outside Canterbury Cathedral

They said: “The response to our Silent Disco had been overwhelmingly positive.

“The event was what we’d hoped it would be - a joyous occasion for lots of people to come together at a unique communal event within a truly special and welcoming location.

“Whilst some people feel that silent discos are not appropriate for places of worship - including the 18 protestors who gathered in the Buttermarket - we’ve had many messages of thanks from those who feel that a cathedral is well-suited to this kind of celebration.”

Speaking before the event, Dr Skowronski told KentOnline: “While respectful of our right to protest, the Dean was dismissive of our petition, stating that we were an extreme minority - for not wanting an alcohol-fuelled rave to the music of Eminem in God's house.”

He argues no other religion would consider using a sacred building in this way.

Canterbury Cathedral hosted its first ever silent disco
Canterbury Cathedral hosted its first ever silent disco

“Discos and parties and things are absolutely great but only in their proper place – it’s all well and good in a nightclub but Canterbury Cathedral was not built for this.”

The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Reverend Dr David Monteith has previously defended the event and insisted the silent disco would be “appropriate and respectful”.

“Cathedrals have always been part of community life in a way much wider than their prime focus as centres of Christian worship and mission,” he said.

“Whilst dancing of all different kinds has happened in the Cathedral over the centuries - and The Bible memorably celebrates the gift of dancing with King David dancing before the Lord (2 Samuel 6) - there are many different views on the secular and the sacred.

“Our 90s-themed silent disco will be appropriate to and respectful of the cathedral - it is categorically not a ‘rave in the nave’ - but I appreciate that some will never agree that dancing and pop music have a place within cathedrals.

Sharing a letter of support reportedly received following the party, a Canterbury Cathedral spokesperson said: “As a woman with a degree of faith, and in regular church attendance, who went to the Thursday night early doors event, I am grateful and glad that you allowed space for the extravagant transcendent love, humanity, and connection I felt at this event.’”

Cathedrals in Leeds, Hereford, Exeter and Manchester are expecting to host similar events up until the summer.

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